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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Many Low-income Adults in Red Medicaid-expansion States Say Obamacare Helped Them

As members of Congress discuss repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a survey by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health provides insights into the views of low-income adults living in red states.

Researchers surveyed low-income adults living in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana — all of which expanded Medicaid under the ACA — and Texas, which did not. Each of these states voted for President Trump by wide margins.

Among respondents who said that they had been affected by the law, twice as many in the expansion states reported being helped than hurt by the law. In Texas, however, more respondents thought the law had harmed rather than helped them.

The findings were reported in a January 25 Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Benjamin Sommers, associate professor of health policy and economics, and Dr. Arnold Epstein, John H. Foster Professor of Health Policy and Management and chair, department of health policy and management.

Read NEJM Perspective: Red-State Medicaid Expansions — Achilles’ Heel of ACA Repeal?

Read Washington Times coverage: Voters in deep-red states report being helped by Obamacare

Dr. Sommers also co-authored a January 27 JAMA Forum article on the economics of Medicaid reform measures currently under consideration by Republican leaders, such as switching federal Medicaid funding to block grants. Some argue that proposed changes would make Medicaid less costly and more efficient, but Dr. Sommers and co-author Dr. Paula Chatterjee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital wrote that the changes could also leave beneficiaries with inadequate coverage.

“Fundamental Medicaid reforms will have broader-reaching consequences, particularly for the most vulnerable patients in our health care system,” they wrote. “The stakes could not be higher.”

Read the JAMA Forum article: The Economics of Medicaid Reform and Block Grants

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